"I've Still Got You" by Pissed Jeans
Back when punk and pretty were mutually exclusive, groups like Flipper and No Trend slowed hardcore's velocity to a garbled, dissonant crawl. That was two decades ago, yet Pennsylvania's Pissed Jeans pretends the intervening beautification of punk never happened. From the savage, drooling misanthropy of "People Person" to the Throbbing Gristle-gulps-Scratch Acid thrum of "The Jogger," Pissed Jeans' Hope For Men makes no attempt to wrap metaphors around its targets. But the band doesn't just lash outward: In the anti-ballad "Scrapbooking," knuckles are dragged across piano keys as singer Matt Korvette gargles phlegm and hideously sings about editing memories by decapitating snapshots. Even more vicious is the ingrown barbed wire of "My Bed," which could be Black Flag's "My War" as envisioned by shut-ins. With Hope For Men, Pissed Jeans is bringing ugly back, and it never sounded so good.